An Introduction to Surat Al- Kahf (The Cave)
Name of the Surah
Surat Al-Kahf (The Cave)
It was titled after this name due to the mention of the word in the following verse:
Or have you thought that the companions of the cave and the inscription were, among Our signs, a wonder? (Al-Khaf 18:9)
Period of Revelation
The Surah was revealed at the last days of the Prophet (peace be upon him) stage in Makkah before migration to Al-Madinah because Muslims had been subjected to persecution. That is why the story of ‘Ashab Al-Kahf’ (the Sleepers of the Cave) has been related to comfort and encourage the persecuted Muslims and to show them how the righteous people have been saving their Faith in the past.
Virtues of the Surah
1- Protection from the trial of Antichrist.
Abu Ad-Darda’ (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever commits to memory the first ten verses of Surat Al-Kahf, will be protected from (the trial of) Ad-Dajjal (Antichrist).” (Muslim)
2- Tranquility descends upon recitation of Surat Al-Kahf.
Al-Bara’ ibn `Azib (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: A man recited Surat Al-Kahf (in his prayer) and in the house there was a (riding) animal which got frightened and started jumping. The man finished his prayer with Tasleem, but behold! A mist or a cloud hovered over him. He informed the Prophet (peace be upon him) of that and the Prophet said, “O so-and-so! Recite, for this (mist or cloud) was a sign of tranquility descending for the recitation of Qur’an.” (Al-Bukhari)
3- The beautiful chapters of Al-Israa’, Al-Kahf, Maryam, Ta-Ha, and Al-Anbiya’.
`Abdur Rahman ibn Yazeed reported: Ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said regarding Surahs Bani Israel, Al-Kahf, Maryam, Ta-Ha, and Al-Anbiya’, “They were among the first chapters to be revealed and they are my treasures.” (Al-Bukhari)
4- Reading Surat Al-Kahf will bring light on the Day of Judgment.
Abu Hisham reported: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever recites Surat Al-Kahf as it was revealed will have light on the Day of Resurrection.” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)
5- Reading Surat Al-Kahf on Friday brings light from Friday to Friday.
Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri reported: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever recites Surat Al-Kahf on Friday will have a light for him between this Friday and the next.” (Authenticated by Al-Albani)
Theme of the Surah
The central theme in the surah, to which all its accounts and ideas relate, is to purge faith of all alien concepts. It seeks to establish correct and accurate thought and reasoning, as also establish values that are sound according to the criterion of the Islamic faith.
Topics of the Surah
1- This Surah was sent down in answer to the three questions which the pagans of Makkah, in consultation with the people of the Book, had put to the Prophet (peace be upon him) in order to test him. These were: Who were “the Sleepers of’ the Cave”? What is the real story of Al-Khidr? And what do you know about Zu Al-Qarnayn?
2- The most important thing to be noted about this surah is its preponderant narration of events that took place in the past. First, we have the story of the sleepers in the cave, followed by that of the man with two gardens, then a reference to Adam and Satan.
3- The surah begins and ends with declaring God’s Oneness, rejecting any concept that associates partners with God, accepting revelation as true, and making a clear and absolute distinction between God and other beings.
4- The surah also directs human beings to make their judgment only on what they know for certain. What they do not know, they should leave to God to determine.
5- The surah addresses the Prophet (peace be upon him), requiring him to persevere and be patient, associating with those who believe, paying no regard to the adornments of this world.
6- At the end of the surah, the fact is stated that the worst losers among all creatures are those who refuse to believe in God’s revelations or in the fact of meeting Him on 6tthe Day of Judgment.
Sayyed Abu A`la Maududi’s Tafhim Al-Qur’an.
Sayyid Qutb’s Fi Zhilal Al-Qur’an.